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2018 Cheltenham Festival placepot tips - Selections and permutation to scoop the 'pot on the final day

Brian Healy in Friday 16 Mar 2018
Final day selections for Friday's Cheltenham Festival Tote Placepot.

Brian Healy gives his final day Tote Placepot tips and permuation to scoop a share of the pot on Cheltenham Festival Friday.

The fourth and final day of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival goes to post on Friday, and the last day Tote Placepot is up for grabs.

A fall by Bacardys when getting into contention, and Yanworth being run out of the places on the climb to the winning line blew our Placepot attempt on Thursday which paid £96.80 to a winning £1 line. Undaunted though, we try again with out Friday placepot permutation, and the corresponding card twelve months ago yielded a winning dividend of £1,676.90.

LEG 1: Triumph Hurdle - 2 selections (3 places)

REDICEAN (4) is 3-3 over hurdles, posting a most impressive performance to win the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton.

Alan King’s charge has won all three of his races at that venue, so there is a slight doubt over his effectiveness on this wholly different track; but he has flat speed to burn, and further improvement puts him firmly in the mix.

STORMY ISLAND (9) showed some decent form in a pair of hurdles starts in France prior to joining Willie Mullins, and the Motivator filly couldn’t have been more impressive on her first outing in Ireland where she demolished North Carolina and others by the best part of 60 lengths.

This is clearly a big test, being thrust into such a hot contest on the back of just one prior outing; but she gets weight from all bar Apple’s Shakira, and she could well prove a very smart prospect.

Redicean can run a big race in the Triumph Hurdle.

LEG 2: County Hurdle - 3 selections (4 places)

A HARE BREATH (7) seems best when fresh, so Ben Pauling’s charge looks set to post a big effort back from a near-100 day break.

The Alkaadhem gelding was highly tried over fences last term, winning at Bangor before coming up short in Graded company, including in the Arkle behind Altior. He subsequently disappointed back over hurdles at Aintree in April before making a winning return to action from an eight-month break to beat a strong field of runners to take a Listed contest at Sandown.

Vanquished rivals in that contest included Jenkins and Unison - both subsequent dual-winners - and a 6lbs rise in the weights looks workable; probably saved for this , he ought to post a big run.

FLYING TIGER (16) won the Fred Winter hurdle at this meeting twelve months ago, and Nick Williams’ charge can go well.

The Soldier Of Fortune gelding has acquitted himself well this term in Graded company, most recently finishing fourth to Elgin in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton, having earlier finished third to Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’air in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle earlier in his campaign.

Back in a handicap, he is just 6lbs higher than when winning the Fred Winter, and with the big field and strong pace sure to suit, he looks set for a big run.

Flying Tiger can post a big effort in the County Hurdle.

Davy Russell has already shown at the Festival that he has no equal when it comes to big field handicaps, and the Irish pilot pairs with Gordon Ellitt’s BEN DUNDEE (20) who is generally a consistent performer, and he has largely run well in big-field Irish handicap hurdles including posting a win at Punchestown on his first start for this yard.

He found only Trainwreck too strong at Leopardstown over Christmas, and he can be forgiven his last run at that venue when only tenth to Off You Go. It was a rare poor effort, where he found little for pressure; but he has solid claims on his earlier runner-up finish, and he has the right man on board.

LEG 3: Albert Bartlett Hurdle - 2 selections (3 places)

OK CORRAL (13) is thorougly unexposed after just three hurdles starts, and Nicky Henderson’s Mahler gelding can go close.

He had looked a very smart bumper performer, beating High Bridge on debut before chasing home Yorkhill at Punchestown; but he has had problems since, and he returned from a 746-day absence to score at Kempton last May.

Subsequently off again for a further eight months, he has finished runner-up at Newbury before posting a win back at Kempton when stepped up in trip. He shaped there as if a longer trip will suit, and while being eight years old makes him old for a novice, he will have strengthened and matured which may be an asset in the conditions.

He can go well, as can CHRIS’S DREAM (5) who improved for each start when trained by Eugene O’Sullivan, rounding off his time with that yard when beating Judgement Day at Limerick.

Having subsequently joined Henry de Bromhead, the Mahler gelding hacked up in a Clonmel Grade Three contest last month when stepped up to this trip, posting a 60-plus lengths defeat of Carrigeen Acebo.

This will demand more, but he’s a potentially very smart performer who may have more to offer.

LEG 4: Gold Cup - 2 selections (3 places)

NATIVE RIVER (11) finished third in this race twelve months ago, despite sustaining a late injury in the race; Colin Tizzard’s charge had earlier posted a trio of wins which included a tremendous weight-bearing effort to win the Welsh Grand National.

He has ran just once this term, beating two other rivals to claim the Denman Chase, and he will arrive here fresh and fit; he can post a big run in conditions that are unlikely to faze him, and he ought to go close.

Native River can run another big race in the Gold Cup.

OUR DUKE (12) has been progressive over fences, winning a competitive Irish Grand National as a novice, and Jessica Harrington’s charge has improved with each run. While he didn’t fire on his return, he was still travelling well when making a bad mistake in the Irish Gold Cup behind Edwulf which cost him all chance; he ran on for fourth though, and his subsequent defeat of RSA Chase winner Presenting Percy puts him firmly in the mix.

He can make the odd mistake, but he’s clearly talented and possesses a big engine; Jessica Harrington won the race twelve months ago with Sizing John, and the Oscar gelding looks sure to give a good account.

LEG 5: Foxhunters’ Chase - 2 selections (3 places)

WONDERFUL CHARM (23) came from out of the clouds in this race twelve months ago to go down by only a neck behind winner and stablemate Pacha Du Polder; he was arguably given too much to do, having been outpaced turning down the hill and being denied a clear run before finishing strongly.

He warmed up for this run with a bloodless success at Musselburgh last month, and with a shade more luck in running then he ought to go close again.

VIRAK (19) was a smart chaser at his best for Paul Nicholls, winning four of his first six starts and placing in Graded company; but he became disappointing last term, often struggling to get competitive.

A switch to hunter chases seems to have worked the oracle for the Bernebeau gelding who has won both starts in that sphere at Ludlow and Haydock in vastly different ground, although his best has come in the mud so any further rain would aid his chances.

This isn’t easy, but he has looked transformed in this sphere and more like the force of old; he can run a big race, and still only nine he has time on his side.

Virak is one of a number of Paul Nicholls-trained runners in Friday's Foxhunter Chase.

LEG 6: Martin Pipe Hurdle - 2 selections (4 places)

A very tough closing leg - assuming we get this far - and EARLY DOORS (5) can go well back in handicap company.

One of several JP McManus-owned runners in the race, the Soldier Of Fortune gelding won each of his first two hurdles starts, scoring at Wexford and Naas - beating the useful Meri Devie - before finding Mengli Khan too strong in the Royal Bond Hurdle.

Subsequently ninth to Samcro in the Deloitte, Joseph O’Brien’s charge steps into handicap company from a potentially lenient mark, and a repeat of his Royal Bond run ought to put him firmly in the mix.

CARTER MCKAY (11) ought to be suited by the likely strong pace and big field here, and the Martaline gelding can post a big run.

A winner of his first two starts in bumpers at Leopardstown and Naas, he was disappointing behind Fayonagh when sent off second-favourite for the Champion Bumper twelve months ago where he finished nearer last than first; subsequently beaten by that rival again at Punchestown he returned from a break to post an impressive debut success over timber with a 15 lengths’ beating of Wings Like Arion.

He has been highly tried in both starts since, finishing third to Getabird and Mengli Khan in the Moscow Flyer Hurdle at Punchestown; he filled the same position on his next start at Leopardstown when beaten just under three lengths by Tower Bridge.

Dropping into a handicap, he has scope to do better off this mark and on the form of those runs in Graded company he could be well-treated.




Leg 3: CHRIS'S DREAM (5), OK CORRAL (13)

Leg 4: NATIVE RIVER (11), OUR DUKE (12)



Permutation: 2x3x2x2x2x2 = 96 bets

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2018 Cheltenham Festival placepot tips - Selections and permutation to scoop the 'pot on the final day

Brian Healy gives his final day Tote Placepot tips and permuation to scoop a share of the pot on Cheltenham Festival Friday.

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